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Sununu says he is opposed to legislation on affidavit ballots

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Gov. Chris Sununu expressed opposition to a Republican-backed bill to create affidavit ballots but stopped short of committing to veto it during a press event on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 418, a Republican-backed effort to tighten identification requirements for voting, passed the Senate in a 13-11 vote in March that fell mostly along party lines.

The measure would require people who come to vote or same-day register to vote without certain documentation to use a different kind of ballot, and their votes would be voided if they didn’t mail in the missing documentation within 10 days of the election. That would delay election results until 14 days after an election.

Sununu criticized the proposal, arguing it would create a provisional ballot that could jeopardize New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.

“The problem I have generally with provisional ballots is that you may not get a final result for days after the election,” Sununu said, adding that “our system works” as is.

“It has integrity. Our citizens believe in our system, (they believe) that it does have integrity,” he said.

The governor said the bill could threaten New Hampshire’s motor voter exception as well – a concern shared by voting rights advocates in the state. In 1993, New Hampshire struck a deal to comply with the National Voter Registration Act. Rather than offering voter registration services to those applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, the state opted to allow same-day voter registration. Sununu said he believed this legislation would be contrary to that deal.

SB 418 is one of a spate of bills introduced this session to tighten election laws. No evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found, and New Hampshire elections are sound and secure, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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